Darryl Watkins: World Traveler
By: Clyde Verdin,

With a middle name like Finesse, many would guess that only a future sure-handed point guard or forward would be given that moniker by their parents. The 6-foot-11 Darryl Finesse Watkins, acquired by the Hornets in August, happens to be the complete opposite of that.

Although the towering center is making a stop with his seventh team since coming out of Syracuse in 2007, the time hes put in while in the league has given him a chance to learn what it takes to make it in the NBA, something scouts around the league are noticing as well.

Going through every camp, you always learn something new, Watkins said. When you come in as a rookie, youre trying to process a lot of things, whereas I feel like Im adding to my set of skills.

The most action the Paterson, N.J., native has gotten since making the leap to the professional ranks was in 2008 when he was signed by Tianjin of the Chinese Basketball League. Watkins played in 43 games for the Chinese club, averaging 20.7 points and 14 rebounds in 41 minutes of play per game. Watkins understood his role while playing in Asia, and the difference between the NBA and other leagues.

When you get into an NBA training camp, youre mostly expected to come in as a role player, while in China they expect you to score a lot of points and be a star, he said.

Even with his experience playing in 40 games with the Los Angeles Defenders and 18 games with the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League in 2007 and 2008, Watkins felt he could work on his low-post game and scoring touch while in China.

They play 50 games in China, and I used every game to try and do something new with my game, Watkins said.

In his time with the Hornets, Watkins has spent many hours after practice working with assistant coach Randy Ayers on everything from positioning to his touch around the basket, continuing to take those extra steps to ensure his future success.

The one thing Coach Ayers always tells me is to do the little things that make the game easier for you and I know working with him has made my game more complete, he said.

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